We are all leaders

There is a simple yet important question we need to ask ourselves if we are to rebuild our party: Am I a leader?

It is a simple question but one we rarely ask. Leadership has become defined by the extraordinary, by those who are able to do things which many others cannot, but this means that when we do show leadership – even for a short period – we undervalue it or worse, we don’t acknowledge it at all.

During the recent local elections I stood (for the first time) as a paper candidate in my local ward. Despite my small chance of success (earning 5% of the vote would have been seen as a major coup) I decided to press on regardless and printed some leaflets. As the local party hadn’t resources to spare for a FOCUS run I decided to pay for some out of my own pocket and create Street FOCUS, meaning I only had to print 50 or so at a time. The major issue I focussed on in the tight roads of my local area was Residents Parking Permits and whether Blue Badge holders should have priority parking outside of their homes.

After a few days of leafleting I passed a leaflet to a couple as they were entering their home. After a quick scan of the piece of paper they remarked “Oh, so you’re the one talking about Resident’s Parking?” to which I confirmed I was, and after a brief chat I leant their daughter had Multiple Sclerosis. I also learnt that since I had begun been talking about the parking issues in the area, other residents had starting leaving a space for that family outside of their home.

I share this because leadership doesn’t have to be grand gestures or heroic deeds but it’s about people and how we impact on them. Leadership isn’t about changing the world but about changing someone else’s world.

Am I a leader? Yes; because we all are.

* Ian Thomas is the pseudonym for a party member. His identity is known to the Lib Dem Voice editorial team.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Liberal Neil 27th May '16 - 9:11am

    Spot on Alex.

  • Stephen Howse 27th May '16 - 9:34am

    Great piece, Alex – along the lines of Gandhi’s “Be the change that you wish to see”.

    Well done for flying the flag for the party, and thank you! We need people like you who will be proactive and positive, and I hope your example will encourage others to do the same.

  • nigel hunter 27th May '16 - 9:49am

    It shows that s small amount of money can make an influence. One who knows his area can build up support.

  • Brilliant article – and it looks as if it was well over double 5%!
    The one thing I would say – to all candidates this year and indeed ever is to carry on involving people in their community and in the Lib Dems after the election and carry on putting out the street focuses!

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